By Tony Attwood
I was hoping that someone might have done a cover of that old stomper, “Had a dream about you baby” but no one has – or at least if they have I can’t find a copy on the internet to offer unto you. But then last time I checked it wasn’t on BobDylan.com either and maybe that’s where the cover artists go a-looking. They really ought to use Untold Dylan.
So I keep meandering down the list looking for a song that the cover artists might have taken on in some new and meaningful manner. And I came to Hard Rain, and stumbled upon one of weirdest covers of all time. Don’t worry, there’s no test at the end so you can turn off after 30 seconds. The audience however quite liked it.
And if you want some more
I wonder what Bob thinks.
Indeed the point about all these articles is not that I am saying that these are my favourite versions, or even that they are musically exquisite, but rather in most cases they have informed me about the possibilities in the music – possibilities I most likely have never discovered or would ever have discovered on my own .
Moving on, Eliza Gilkyson takes us on a different route. And this really leads me to the other key point in all this – many commentators write and speak as if all that matters are the lyrics. I don’t think Dylan feels this at all, and I can assert I most certainly don’t. The lyrics become the bedrock of the possibilities for the music that can emerge from the song. Indeed why else would Bob himself have created so many versions of his songs? Yes sometimes he changes the lyrics (Tangled up in blue is perhaps the most famous example) but just think how often he then changes the music, taking the lyrics as the bedrock and then moving the music on.
There’s a lovely extra in this version, and that is the harmonies which are exquisite and from which I do, even after all these years, get more from the song. For example, in listening to the “who did you meet verse”, I can feel tears coming to my eyes… over the top I know but that’s how it goes.
I have found an instrumental of the song by DeJohnette – Gredadier – Medeski – Scofield which for me goes the wrong way into another universe where the song has no meaning at all. You can go and find it if you want to but I’m helping you. I really don’t like it.
And to clear my head of that I’m going to have to bring forward my favourite, or one of my favourite versions of the song – it ended one of the series of Peaky Blinders, one of my favourite TV series of recent years.
What makes it so good… oh I’ve thought about that so much. The vocal harmonies are delicious, the percussion is perfectly arranged, and above all, it retains the understatement of Dylan’s original, even when there is a build-up of the instrumentation. There is a sort of galloping punchiness to the piece that just works so perfectly.
But if you feel that the song’s message is so strong, so vital and so important that it really does need to be shouted from the rooftops then you’ll probably like Charlie Daniels.
But for every musical route in one direction, there is always the chance of going the other way. I’ve only just found this version with which I will conclude my meander today. It is not perfect, it is not exactly to my taste, but it offers me new insights through the harmonies of the voices, and the dedication to keeping the guitar part as simple as they can.
There is also a beautiful way in which they often hesitate for a quarter or even an eighth of a beat at the end of each line. It is that sort of inventiveness that I enjoy – just to know someone out there is actually thinking musically and artistically …. If you are going to be an artist that has to be the road map you follow. Just doing it straight doesn’t work; not in this world.
- Dylan cover of the day: Number 1. The song with numbers in the title.
- Dylan cover of the day. No 2: Ain’t Talkin
- Bob Dylan cover of the day No3: All I really want to do
- Dylan cover of the day No4: Angelina
- Dylan covers of the day No 5. Apple Suckling and Are you Ready.
- Cover version of the day No 6: As I went out one morning
- Dylan cover of the day No 7: Ballad for a Friend
- Dylan Cover of the Day No 8: Ballad in Plain D
- Dylan Cover of the Day No 9: Ballad of a thin man
- Dylan cover No. 10: The stunning reworking of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
- Dylan cover of the day No 11: The ballad of Hollis Brown
- A Dylan cover a day No 12: Beyond here lies nothing
- Dylan cover of the day No 13: Blind Willie McTell
- Dylan Cover of the Day 14: Black Crow Blues (more fun than you might recall)
- Dylan Cover of the Day 15: An unexpected cover of “Black Diamond Bay”
- Dylan Cover of the Day 16: Blowin in the wind as never before
- Dylan Cover of the Day 17: Bob Dylan’s Dream
- Dylan Cover of the Day 18: You will not believe this… 115th Dream revisited
- Dylan cover of the day 19: Boots of Spanish leather
- Dylan cover of the day 20: Born in Time
- Dylan cover of the day 21: Buckets of Rain
- Dylan cover of the day: 22 Can you please crawl out your window
- Dylan cover of the day 23: Can’t wait
- Dylan Cover of the Day 24: Changing of the Guard
- Dylan Cover of the Day 25: Chimes of Freedom
- Dylan cover a day 34: Country Pie
- Dylan Cover of the Day 33: Crash on the Levee
- A Dylan cover a day 35: Dark Eyes
- Dylan Cover of the Day 26: Dear Landlord
- Dylan cover of the Day 27: Desolation Row as never ever before (twice)
- Dylan cover of the Day 28: Dignity.
- Dylan Cover of the Day 29: Dirge
- Dylan Cover of the Day 30: Don’t fall apart on me tonight.
- Dylan cover a Day 31: Don’t think twice
- Dylan cover a day 32: Down along the cove
- Dylan cover – recovered 33: Drifter’s Escape
- Dylan cover a day 34: Duquesne Whistle
- Dylan cover a day 35: Farewell Angelina
- Dylan cover a day 36: Foot of Pride and Forever Young
- Dylan cover a day 37: Fourth Time Around
- A Dylan cover a Day 38: From a Buick 6
- A Dylan cover a Day: 39 “Gates of Eden” as never before
- Dylan cover a Day: 40 “Gotta Serve Somebody”
Untold Dylan was created in 2008 and is published daily – currently twice a day – sometimes more, sometimes less. Details of some of our series are given at the top of the page and in the Recent Posts list, which appears both on the right side of the page and at the very foot of the page (helpful if you are reading on a phone). Some of our past articles which form part of a series are also included on the home page.
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